Physical Activity: A Key Ingredient to Keeping Kids at a Healthy Weight - Promise
Physical Activity: A Key Ingredient to Keeping Kids at a Healthy Weight, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Physical Activity: A Key Ingredient to Keeping Kids at a Healthy Weight

Last year’s social distancing restrictions left many families cooped up inside. With more time indoors, screen-time increased and physical activity declined for many families. With the weather heating up, and outdoor restrictions lifting, many are eager to get back to their regular summer activities.

Benefits of Being Active

When kids are active, their bodies can do the things they want and need them to do. Why? Because regular exercise provides these benefits:

  • strong muscles and bones
  • weight control
  • decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • better sleep
  • a better outlook on life

Healthy, active kids are also more likely to do better in school. And physical competence builds self-esteem at every age. Additionally, regular physical activity improves mental health. It can have a positive impact on reducing the symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and ADHD.

Exercise can boost overall mood. Getting outside to local parks and finding nearby recreation centers can serve as spaces that advance health equity, improve community wellness and health outcomes, and enhance quality of life.

Raising Fit Kids

Combining regular physical activity with a healthy diet is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Being active together can improve your whole family’s health. It also helps children feel more connected and can build strong bonds between family members.

Here are some tips for raising fit kids:

  • Help your kids do a variety of age-appropriate activities.
  • Set a regular schedule for physical activity.
  • Make being active a part of daily life, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Embrace a healthier lifestyle yourself, so you’ll be a positive role model for your family.
  • Keep it fun, so your kids will come back for more.

Subtract Sedentary Time

One of the best ways to get kids to be more active is to limit the amount of time spent in sedentary activities, especially watching TV or other screens. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends parents:

  • Put limits on the time spent using media, which includes TV, social media, and video games. Media should not take the place of getting enough sleep and being active.
  • Limit screen time to 1 hour a day or less for children 2 to 5 years old.
  • Discourage any screen time, except video-chatting, for kids younger than 18 months.
  • Choose high-quality programming and watch it with your kids to help them understand what they’re seeing.
  • Keep TVs, computers, tablets, phones, and video games out of children’s bedrooms. Turn off screens during mealtimes.

Learn More

Weight Management at Nemours
Overweight and Obesity (from Nemours’ KidsHealth.org)
Kids and Exercise (from Nemours’ KidsHealth.org)
Get Active (from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
Active Families (from Let’s Move)

Mary Gavin

About Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is a senior medical editor with Nemours Center for Health Delivery Innovation, part of the Nemours Children's Health System.